Wednesday, May 30, 2018

You Are An Angel...If You're An Angeleno

It's been more than a year since I felt motivated to add another article to Mr. LA.  Life does get in the way.  Those matters that stared me in the face last year were tugging at my shirt like a three year old wanting to know if "we're there yet" and had to be resolved.  That has given me renewed juice to add more to the Mr. LA canon of things that are...ANGELENO!

Two weeks ago, I was having a late lunch at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Bottega Louie's, on 7th Street and Grand Avenue.  Although foodies have long since ignored it and are onto the newest food sensations, some of the best food in Los Angeles ever is prepared and eaten at Bottega Louie's.
I was sitting next to a gentleman who told me he was in Los Angeles on a business trip and that he was from Northern Virginia.  When he asked me if I was a native of Los Angeles, I replied, "I'm an Angeleno, born and raised."  He asked me what "angeleno" meant.  I told him that an Angeleno is a native of Los Angeles. It was then that I realized how many people, even Angelenos themselves, don't know what an Angeleno is. This encounter gave me the spark to not only write about who an Angeleno is but I also decided to do a travelogue of some of the daily activities that an Angeleno can do, only in Los Angeles
An Angeleno is the name of any inhabitant of the city of Los Angeles.  Although the early settlers of Los Angeles were Spanish-speaking and used the term "Angeleno" (On-heh-le'-nyo)  to denote "from Los Angeles", "Angeleno" did not enter into the English language until 1885 when books on tourism and newspapers used this Spanish term to define the inhabitants of Los Angeles. Its spelling has often been twisted into "Angelino", which is Spanish for "angelic".  I don't know how many Angelenos are angelic, especially around rush hour.  This  confusion in spelling led to the naming of one of Los Angeles' oldest and most visually exciting suburbs:  Angelino Heights, home to one of the largest concentration of Victorian-era homes in Los Angeles. Nestled in the Echo Park hills between Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, and the 101 Freeway, it's homes have become an iconic image of Los Angeles seen in films and television shows.
I thought that showing what an Angeleno can do ONLY in Los Angeles would inspire people to be proud of being Angelenos and to call themselves that with pride. We, Angelenos, who are born and raised here, often take for granted how unique and influential Los Angeles is in the world.  I will show you how I spent Wednesday, May 16, 2018, no holiday, no city-sponsored event, simply, Wednesday yet what I did that day was exciting, fun, rewarding, easy to do and easy to re-experience over and over.  If I sound like the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, that would be your imagination, not my reality nor the reality that being aware of what Los Angeles offers gastronomically, culturally, historically, and as a hometown goes beyond what any person or tourist organization could say. It has to be felt, revealed, and seen with a new set of eyes to truly understand the marvelous opportunity to live and be from a place that offers so much that makes life worth living.  Angelenos, take great pride in being an Angeleno.  If a New Yorker takes pride in being a native New Yorker (even when they spend much of his or her life living in Los Angeles) and a Bostonian will treasure Faneuil Hall and his/her broad "a", an Angeleno, from Granada Hills to San Pedro and from East Los Angeles to West Los Angeles can be a Native Angeleno!
Want to see what I did that made Wednesday, May 16 so memorable and so typically Angeleno, read my next article here in Mr. LA!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Celebrate Christmas the L.A. Way: 'Yule' Be Glad You Did!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is tomorrow morning.  For 90 years, it has defined the tradition of American holiday parades. It gets a huge national audience every year and it's been enshrined in two versions of "Miracle on 34th Street".

Nonetheless, it is Los Angeles and suburbs that hold the most holiday parades in the United States. 

The oldest of them all is what the Hollywood Christmas Parade, held this year (as in every year since it's founding) on the Sunday after Thankgsiving, this year on November 27.  I knew it as the Santa Claus Lane Parade, it's original name for over 50 years. It spans Hollywood Blvd., from Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Drive (in front of the TCL Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel)  to Hollywood and Vine. 

Started in 1928, it, like the Macy's parade, was started to drum up Christmas shopping.  Hollywood was already world famous and the village of 1908 was now a sophisticated, urban suburb of Los Angeles, with movie studios, banks, restaurants, and fashionable stores waiting to serve Angelenos and tourists alike.  Because of the use of film stars as grand marshals from it's inception, the Hollywood Christmas Parade has had a Who's Who in Entertainment its entire history.  While my sister drooled over Jon Provost, the teenaged star of "Lassie" at the 1964 parade, my five year old life was complete seeing my favorite local television host, Hobo Kelly, on a float.  She was live and she spoke to me!!!

In the late 1970's, the parade went through a name change (The Hollywood Christmas Parade) and it attracted major film and tv stars. It sailed through the '90's with few hitches.  By the 2,000's, the parade seemed "old hat" and was no longer attracting the stars of the first magnitude.  After almost being cancelled for good in 2007, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce took the parade to cable channels and funded it itself.  The ratings success led to it's new lease on life. It returned to being televised on KTLA, Channel 5, where it had been televised from 1952-2006.  This year's grand marshals are Erik Estrada and Laura McKenzie.  For more information, contact

Southern California's cool but mild winters allow parades to spring up in the most unlikely places.  In Marina del Rey, Naples Harbor in Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach are some of the most glittering parades in the United States, except that they are on water with decorated sailboats and other private pleasure craft. 
Naples Harbor, Long Beach, CA

Naples Harbor Christmas Boat Parade, Long Beach, CA
More Christmas Cheer at the Naples Christmas Boat Parade

For more information about the Naples Christmas Boat Parade, visit:

Redondo Beach is home to it's own Christmas boat parade.  Here's a photo from last year's parade held at King Harbor.

For more information, visit:,html

Truly, one unique and breathtaking parade is the annual Venice Canals Christmas Boat Parade in Venice, CA.  Here are three photos from recent parades.  For more information, contact:  www. 

Of course, there are other good, old-fashioned, land-based parades other than the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  Google for all of them in Southern California but one deserves honorable mention for being a Christmas parade almost as old as the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  Since 1946, the Huntington Park Christmas Parade has attracted a huge following throughout the Southland and across the United States through Spanish-language televising of the event.  Here is Samantha's Folklorico Troupe adding a Caribbean lilt to Christmas:

Just as soon as you tire of all the richness of the Christmas parades, you can camp out on Colorado Blvd. or watch from the heated comfort of your home and watch the most famous Southern California parade of all, the Tournament of Roses on New Year's Day. 

Why all this richness of parades?  Why not?  Enjoy! Yule Be Glad You Did!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Forgotten But Not Gone!

Unless you work for a state agency, tomorrow will go by unnoticed, not only in Los Angeles but throughout the state of California's cities and towns.  It wasn't always this way.

                                          SEPTEMBER 9 is ADMISSION DAY!

Admission Day?  California is a university student?  a patient needing to go to a hospital?  getting into a 12-Step program?  Uuhhhhh, no.

Admission Day marks the day when California, formerly a Spanish, then a Mexican, province became the 31st state of the United States on September 9, 1850.  California's admission to the Union was a very popular move, except for many of the previously-conquered Hispanic Californios and those U.S. senators who envisioned the lands that the U. S. fought and bought from Mexico as one continental cotton plantation, a slaveholder's heaven.  California's admission into the Union necessitated the Great Compromise of 1850 that soothed slaveholders in the South with more stringent enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law in exchange for California and the other former Mexican lands, except Texas, to enter the Union as free states.

Statehood was generally favored in Los Angeles, not just from English speakers but many Californios looked forward to gaining greater rights for themselves in the new nation they reluctantly and cautiously belonged to.  Statehood, they thought, would establish their claims to their own land and that the Hispanic Californio culture could continue undisturbed. Sadly, we know how that turned out in later years. 

California was going to be a free state, no matter what.  That same year, 1850, brought about California's commitment to civil rights, beginning the legacy that made California the state that created the 40-hour work week, child labor, allowed women the vote, Cesar Chavez and the UFW, the court cases that first ended racial segregation in the school and workplace and whose outcomes ended those civil rights abuses nationwide.  It was then that, Biddy Mason, a slave owned by a Texan who migrated to California, discovered California was free territory.  She sought a lawyer to demand her freedom through the courts.  After attempts to kidnap her by her former owner, Biddy Mason won her freedom through the California Supreme Court in 1856.  She had relocated her family to California and she began purchasing many lots throughout the city through her work as nurse and educator.  She donated some of her lots to build the city's first firehouse, school, and hospital.  She also became very wealthy in the sale and purchase of land.  She became almost universally loved in the cautiously, defensively multicultural society of the time and was given a funeral worthy of a head of state.

For much of California's statehood, Admission Day was a state holiday, observed by schools, banks, and many other businesses, as well as state offices.  There were parades in major cities celebrating Admission Day well until the 1970's.  I remember well getting that day off, often three days into the new school year.  

                            WHY DON'T WE CELEBRATE IT ANYMORE?

The answer is "I don't know." I could offer a number of theories but that's all they would be.  Certainly, the state's ever decreasing general funds phased out the civic parades that were so often found in cities, especially on Admission Day.  Also, educators and civic leaders have "dropped the ball" in promoting and publicizing Admission Day to newer generations, ignoring it's importance to all Californians.  Newer arrivals into California don't know of Admission Day. Since few apprise them of the holiday, Admission Day has entered the Twilight Zone of formerly important holidays, such as Arbor Day, May Day, and Flag Day.  Like the others, California's Admission Day deserves the pomp, festivities, and celebration that the state deserves.  After all, 37 million people call California home, more population than any other state in the United States.  It's economy ranks as the 12th largest in the world. It is home to the most ethnically diverse population in the western United States and it all began on September 9, 1850. 

Admission Day must become a reminder of how our great state came to be and how we shape it with our presence here every day!
Plaza de Los Angeles, where news of California's admission to the Union was read.

Los Angeles, 1848, newly American but not yet a state

Biddy Mason Park, Downtown Los Angeles
Biddy Mason Park, 300 Block, Broadway, across from the Grand Central Market
A quiet, beautiful place to meditate, relax, eat, right in Downtown Los Angeles, Biddy Mason Park

                                                 ADMISSION DAY, SEPTEMBER 9

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Los Angeles Under The Radar: Charles Lummis, the first Mr LA!

For so many people in and out of Los Angeles, Los Angeles conjures up images of objects and foods Latino.  When many people think of California overall, California's Missions often come to mind and are visited annually by millions from around the world.  In and out of Los Angeles, AAA (more often than not known by it's nickname: the Auto Club) plans the trips and makes travel far more pleasant for millions all over the United States.  President Obama and thousands of others attended Occidental College, one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning  in the United States, located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Eagle Rock.  The Los Angeles Times is one of the leading newspapers in America and is an icon of Los Angeles.  What do all of these have in common?      Him below
Charles Lummis

Charles Fletcher Lummis, though born in Lynn, Massachusetts, left such a wide and varied mark on the city of Los Angeles that one could say he, singlehandedly, created the city of Los Angeles.  He was the first MrLA!!!

Suffering from a respiratory ailment, Lummis was advised, as was the medical practice of the day to treat respiratory diseases, to move to a milder climate.  Always possessed by an intense spirit of adventure, the 28 year-old Lummis chose to go to Los Angeles and skipped going by train to L. A. 

HE WALKED THERE!  It took him two years to reach Los Angeles!   He was stranded in northern New Mexico by the winter snows of 1884.  While there, he lived among the Pueblo, came to love their culture, and saw the firsthand degrading attempts by the U. S. government to eradicate their culture so that they could fully emulate Anglo America.  He became one of the most ardent supporters of Native American rights as well as one of the earliest exponents of  Native American cultures to a mainstream American public.  His collection of Native American artifacts, especially rare pieces from Californian nations, became the Southwest Museum, in Highland Park, still the largest and most comprehensive museum dedicated to Native Americans in the United States. 
Southwest Museum

He became friends with a journalist, Helen Hunt Jackson, when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1885.  He had been so passionate to her describing the cultural traits and mistreatment of the Pueblo Indians that Mrs. Jackson, likewise a supporter of Native American rights, determined to change U. S. government treatment of Natives by writing a book, Ramona, which became one of the best-selling American books ever but backfired in rousing the U. S. government from treating Native Americans as fellow citizens.  It did, accidentally, lead to the turning of Los Angeles' (and California's) history of Spanish settlement into a billion-dollar industry, which Charles Lummis wasted no time in exploiting for his pet projects and self-promotion.

When Lummis arrived in Los Angeles, although he was hired to become the Los Angeles Times' first city editor and wrote articles for publication in this fairly-new newspaper, including an interview with famed outlaw, Frank James, while he walked to Los Angeles, he arrived at the Los Angeles Plaza almost dead from exposure, hunger, and exhaustion.  A few months after assuming his duties at the Times and living two doors down from what is now the Grand Central Market, he suffered a stroke at age 27 that left him paralyzed on one side.  He fled Los Angeles back to the Pueblo Indians and divorced his first wife. during which time he exercised his way back to full recovery.  His experiences there not only led to regaining his health, he met and married his second wife at a Pueblo reservation in New Mexico, he wrote essays that he collected and published nationally.

Pomo Basket, Southwest Museum

In 1892, he returned to Los Angeles with his new wife and daughter.  His essays were  now netting him riches and national recognition.  His love of the early Spanish history of California led him to take photos of early California buildings for the club he founded, the Landmarks Club, and it's magazine, Out West.  The Landmarks Club gained hundreds of members over the next 10 years, enthusiastic to preserve California's Missions and Native Californian cultures.  His maps for owners of those newfangled automobiles to visit the missions and other California landmarks made the Missions made them accessible to countless people, turning them into some of California's and America's most famous tourist destinations.  Their fame led to the state and federal governments restoring the missions to their original forms and turned into state historic parks, protected and preserved for future generations.   The club grew so large that it became known as the Automobile Club of Southern California and, later, the American Automobile Association.  It's magazine, Sunset Magazine, is still one of the leading sources for tourism in Los Angeles and Southern California.
Santa Barbara Mission, Made Famous by Lummis' Landmarks Club, now AAA

Mission Bell Landmarks Lobbied by Lummis for Visitor to Easily Find and Tour California Missions

San Fernando Mission, New Year's Day, 2015

Lummis' ever-growing collection of Native American artifacts grew as he traveled to other areas of the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala.  To house them and to further get American public opinion to respect and value Native Americans, Lummis founded and raised funds to build the Southwest Museum, still towering almost like an Italian hilltop palace overlooking Highland Park and the Arroyo Seco. 

Highland Park became Lummis' home for the rest of his life.  Not only did the Southwest Museum come into being through his efforts, he led the creation of Occidental College in 1913, from the beginning, one of the most prestigious private colleges on the West Coast, traditionally famed for its writing, pre-law, and political science programs, makers of many careerists in the U. S. State Department, Oxy, as locals call the college, graduated President Barack Obama. 

Hohokam Fetish, Southwest Museum

Occidental College

By this time, Lummis was on a first-name basis with luminaries of the late 19th-early 20th Century, such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Ethel Barrymore, Enrico Caruso, and the Duke of Albuquerque, representing King Alfonso XII of Spain, among many others.  They not only knew Lummis, they visited and often stayed at the home he built on the banks of the Arroyo Seco, just after recovering from blindness caused by jungle fever on a trip to Guatemala.  From 1897-1910, he built the two-storey home himself from river rock and trees along the Arroyo Seco. He christened his home, El Alisal (The Willow Tree, in Spanish), and entertained these and other luminaries for the next 30 years.  Today, it's a museum with Lummis' furnishings, writings, and personal artifacts, facing off to the 110 Fwy. and Heritage Square Museum.

El Alisal, Lummis' final home, in Highland Park

As celebrated as Lummis was in his day, he underwent a steady decline in his health, fortunes, and personal life.  With most of his money gone, his eyesight gone, and his third marriage dissolved, Lummis lived off of lectures until his death in early 1928.  He arrived in a small, dusty Western town of 12,000 in 1885 and died when Los Angeles had reach 1,000,000 inhabitants. 43 years later.  He played NO small part in creating the Los Angeles of today.  In a world where news media can devote weeks to a four-letter word by Kanye West and its fallout in the music industry, it is criminal that the City of Los Angeles, that received and benefits so much from the work of Charles Lummis, lets him be unknown and insignificant in the lives of Angelenos. 

Since 2006, residents of Highland Park commemorate Charles Lummis and all that he achieved in Los Angeles by hosting a weekend Lummis Day Festival, featuring music, readings of Lummis' work, food, and visits to the Highland Park institutions Lummis founded.  This year, it begins in the afternoon on Friday, June 3-Sunday, June 5, 2016 in different parks in Highland Park. MrLA will be commemorating his own 1-year anniversary by taking visitors to enjoy, experience, and savor the life, accomplishments, and legacy of Charles Fletcher Lummis with a 4-hour tour beginning at the Los Angeles Plaza, next to Olvera Street and returning there, with travel to Lummis sites by way of the Metro Gold Line. For more information, visit: or call (323) 452-2743.

Do what you can so that the original Mr LA, Charles Foster Lummis becomes as loved, respected, and sought out as any entertainment personality or L.A. Live!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Los Angeles Under the Radar: South Figueroa Corridor, Part 1

Today, I went on a tour of a landmark that is not only one of the most famous buildings in Los Angeles, it is one that has displayed Los Angeles on film for a world audience on many occasions.  This landmark is the only one to have done this one thing:  host two Summer Olympic Games.  By this time, you know I'm referring to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  I've been one of those people suffering from what I call "The Disneyland Syndrome":  those people who grow up in the shadow of a landmark yet wait until middle age before visiting it.  I saw the Coliseum, like many do, as merely an aging, out-of-date, stadium that is increasingly forgotten.  Many people, I'm sure don't even know it exists, so long has it been out of the general L. A. consciousness although the Coliseum is the home of the USC Trojans.  As the Coliseum Tours tour I took points out, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more!

It is the home to one of only three cities in the world that have hosted more than one Olympic Games (1932, 1984, and, if given the games, in 2024)!  It was Knute Rockne's first college football coaching before he went on to glory at Notre Dame!  It was the first home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, after Brooklyn, before Dodger Stadium, and home to the first three World Series titles the Dodgers played in their first five years (they won in 1959!)!  It is the oldest multipurpose sports stadium complex in Los Angeles! Although this has some negative history attached to it, the Los Angeles Coliseum is the prototype that cities since the 1932 Olympics have used in designing their stadiums in subsequent Olympic Games, starting with Adolf Hitler's designs for his 1936 Olympic Games stadiums.  So, when one thinks of Olympic stadiums, the Los Angeles Coliseum created the image!  The Coliseum Tour takes you into virtually every nook and cranny of the Coliseum that includes the locker rooms that have been used by the Dodgers, Rams, Raiders, as well as the Bruins and Trojans.

As if the Coliseum were not fascinating and worth a tour lasting hours all on it's own, it is part of the complex of buildings in Exposition Park, one of Los Angeles' oldest parks and home to some of Los Angeles' iconic features.  such as the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, the California Science Center, as well as one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the United States, Exposition Park and the Coliseum make the southern end of one of L. A.'s most interesting and quickly-changing neighborhoods:  South Figueroa Corridor.
Los Angeles Coliseum
One of the Greatest Stadiums in the World-Home to Two Olympic Games

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Adams & Figueroa

While this sounds sterile and industrial, there is sooooooooooooooooo Whmuch to see and do that taking in the sights, smells, foods, galleries, architecture, and communities would take a week to calmly and completely experience.  It is that packed with places to see and things to do within the 2-mile stretch of South Figueroa Street starting at L. A. Live on Olympic Blvd. and ending at Exposition Park and the Coliseum.  While everything along the corridor can be reached by car for a quick drive-by, the vivacity, color, and incredible cultural/architectural wonders really reveal themselves in a comfortable 4-hour walk or by getting a Metro TAP Card for $1.00 plus a $7.00 Metro Day Pass paid on the TAP Card to use the Expo Line and comfortably visit the entire corridor.  Stay tuned for more to see on the South Figueroa Corridor and why you'll get to spend a wonderful day visiting it and feeling as if you saw all the sights of Paris, London, Rome or any other great city in the world.
Murals alongside L. A. Live
Entrance to Patriotic Hall

South Figueroa Corridor Across from L.A. Live and Staples Center
Revolutionary War Mural at Entrance to Patriotic Hall

Monday, March 28, 2016

Los Angeles Under The Radar: The Sierra Pelona American Viticulture Area, 40 Minutes from Downtown Los Angeles!

Time flies when you're out and about and experiencing Los Angeles, as MrLA does.  I conducted a tour of the Los Angeles Wine Country, largely unknown to Angelenos themselves, on March 19.  I know that my last posts have all been about and make me seem to be a paid spokesperson for Los Angeles-area wineries but I keep discovering far more wineries, with their respective vineyards, like Napa Valley, within a 45-minute drive from DTLA.  From the venerable San Antonio Winery, often the only winery many Angelenos know, to the Joseph Filippi Winery in Rancho Cucamonga (one of the oldest wineries in Southern California with a few of it's original vineyards growing grapes that produce their delicious wines) to the Reyes Winery in Santa Clarita, not only one of the new breed of wineries creating this Los Angeles Wine Country but growing grapes in landscapes that resemble Napa or Sonoma wineries,  five local ladies enjoyed visiting and tasting wines from our local lands, along with MrLA and Giovanni, whose van drove us comfortably and safely to these locations.

When we arrived at the Reyes Winery, MrLA discovered that not only were there 40 different wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms in the recently-created Sierra Pelona American Viticulture Area, those entities will be gathering on April 23 to promote their wines and foods while raising funds for the programs of the Santa Clarita Valley Center.  More about that in an upcoming post.

I had the marvelous opportunity to speak with Robert Reyes, the owner of Reyes Winery, and Beth Bode, marketing director for the winery.  They informed me how a burgeoning number of wineries and vineyards had sprung up so abundantly throughout the area from Santa Clarita to Acton, among the Sierra Pelona Mountains, north of CA Highway 14, that local winemakers petitioned the U. S. Treasury Department in 2009 to create a new AVA (American Viticulture Area), recognizing these establishments as wine producers.  On August 23, 2010, the Sierra Pelona American Viticulture Area became the first such area in the Los Angeles region since the 1880's!  Yet, most of these and other local wineries remain virtually unknown, "under the radar", to most Southern Californians.  As I've mentioned in my other wine-related posts, there is no reason for Angelenos to put $50.00 of gas to travel hours to other wineries when $50.00 will get you tastings at two Los Angeles-area wineries, plus gas, an inexpensive meal, and vistas that rival Napa and Sonoma for beauty!

At nearby Agua Dulce Winery, one can sip wines and stay in sumptuous accomodations in a home resembling the White House than an inn.  In the heart of the Sierra Pelona AVA is Le Chene, a new and increasingly popular French restaurant which, naturally features wines from local wineries.  The connection with local wineries is so close that Reyes wines can be bought at the Reyes Winery, taken to Le Chene, opened without a corkage fee, AND accompany a meal that will be discounted by 15% simply for having bought and opened a Reyes wine.  While this might not be St. Helena and the French Laundry, Southern California's version is fantastic and worthy of being mentioned in the same breath with other such winery-restaurant pairings in other wine countries. 

Join me and other explorers of Los Angeles: Under the Radar as we explore the Sierra Pelona AVA and its wineries as we attend an upcoming festival featuring the wines of the area and excellent foods to pair them with.  Stay tuned for more information on this wine festival on Wednesday!

Reyes Winery
10262 Sierra Highway
Agua Dulce, CA 91390
(661) 268-1865

Agua Dulce Winery
9640 Sierra Highway
Agua Dulce, CA 91390
(661) 772-0145

Le Chene
12625 Sierra Highway
Agua Dulce, CA 91390
(6610 251-4315

Approach to Reyes Winery
Entering the Reyes Winery
MrLA with Robert Reyes
MrLA with the Lovely Ladies He Toured With

Agua Dulce Winery and Inn

Chardonnay Harvest at Agua Dulce Winery

Tasting Room at Agua Dulce Winery
Fermentation and Aging Room-Agua Dulce Winery

More than 40 Wineries Within 40 Miles of Downtown Los Angeles! Find Out Where!More Than 40 Wineries Within 40 Miles of Downtown LA. Find Out Where!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Best Things in Los Angeles are...........UNDER THE RADAR!

Being a lifelong Angeleno, I've come across people who fall into 3 categories (how Virgo of me! -):

1.  Those who come to Los Angeles for film, tv, and music fame, who start living and leaving the "Glamour Ghetto" ( La Brea Ave. west to the Pacific Ocean; Burbank west to Woodland Hills), believing this is Los Angeles and it conforms to the images on tv that they see (made by men and women who live and work in the Glamour Ghetto). To these people, "Downey" and "El Sereno" are places on Jupiter, as far as they're concerned;

2. Those who are born and raised in Los Angeles but live their lives in a limited circle and are not usually tuned into the artistic or cultural events going on in the city; AND

3.  Immigrants who, by virtue of their newness to not only to Los Angeles but to the United States, are clueless or are uninterested in that that makes the city unique.  Their world is that of survival and safety, physical and cultural, having others from the same country and/or ethnicity as they are.

The vastness of Los Angeles exacerbates the tendency of all three groups to not seek out or who remain unaware of the historical, cultural, artistic, and ethnic richness that are unique in the way they play out in the daily lives of Angelenos.  I first was clued to that richness when the 1984 Olympics were held in Los Angeles.  The Olympic Committee created the Olympics Arts Festival, which, for those of us who experienced it, was the first time Angelenos came from all over, put their fears and prejudices aside, got their "adventurer" on, and discovered that this vast city was really a larger village with "villagers" coming from different countries, different regions of the U. S., mixing with those who were born or lived much of their lives in Los Angeles.  I attended the Soccer Semi-Final match between Morocco and Brazil as well as a fashion show of Middle Eastern fashions at Al-Amir, a long-closed Lebanese restaurant next to E Entertainment on Wilshire Blvd.  I went to two free Shakespeare plays and Spanish tabla dancing in Griffith Park.    Every day, in the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner published the daily and weekly listings of the Olympic Arts Festival.  It was the first time in my memory where the city was alive in the way Rio is during Carnival.  It was the first time I felt that I was in a brother- and sisterhood with people I'd shied away from knowing.  That was one of the singular moments of my life.

I will be highlighting areas that not only continue to be this eclectic in their ethnic makeup but eclectic in their art, music, food, and their relations with their neighbors.

Stay tuned for further entries into "L. A. Under the Radar"!